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EMI Classics & Virgin Classics July 2009 releases

Shadows of Silence: Piano Concertos by Dalbavie and
Lutoslawski; solo works by Sorensen and Kurtág

Leif Ove Andsnes, piano

Bavarian Radio Symphony
Orchestra /
Franz Welser-Möst

CD available July 14 from EMI Classics

“Four years after its co-commission
by the Cleveland Orchestra, Marc-André Dalbavie’s Piano Concerto is out in
digital release.  Leif Ove Andsnes,
who played it here in 2006, turns in another entrancing performance, now with
Franz Welser-Möst, alternately rendering the work’s downward-scale pattern as
so many steely, ferocious waves and ruminative wanderings.  Rounding out the meaty recordings is
another work Andsnes has championed, Lutoslawski’s Piano Concerto, and Bent
Sorensen’s evocative
The Shadows of Silence for solo piano.  Grade: A”

– Zachary
Cleveland Plain Dealer

Leif Ove Andsnes’s latest recording for EMI Classics
– released digitally in April and available this month on CD – features
performances of some of his favorite contemporary repertoire, including
world-premiere recordings of two 21st-century compositions written
for him: Bent Sorensen’s The Shadows of Silence for solo piano, and the Piano Concerto by
Marc-André Dalbavie.  The
celebrated Norwegian pianist also performs Witold Lutoslawski’s Piano Concerto
and selections from Játékok (Games) by György Kurtág.  The Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra (BRSO) and Franz
Welser-Möst join Andsnes in the two piano concertos, both recorded live. 

The Piano Concerto by Marc-André Dalbavie (b. 1961,
France) was a co-commission of the BBC Proms, the Cleveland Orchestra, and the
Chicago Symphony Orchestra. 
Andsnes performed the world premiere with the BBC Symphony Orchestra
under Jukka-Pekka Saraste at the 2005 Proms and has subsequently performed the
concerto with the Cleveland Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony under David
Robertson, and the Tokyo Philharmonic conducted by the composer himself.

“I love working with him.  I love his imagination,” says Andsnes of Dalbavie.  “He has such a colorful mind and always
comes up with interesting thoughts and ideas which are very much reflected in
his music.  I love how one sound
transforms itself into another through a musical chain of events.  When he was resident composer in Risor
in 2003, it was impressive how Dalbavie had it clear in his mind exactly what
he wanted to hear.”  Preparing for
the composition, Dalbavie met with Andsnes several times and heard him in
concert often: 

“I’ve had a great experience with this pianist, his
musicality, and powerful sound. 
He’s both very strong and very soft, which is important to me.  His sound is very lyrical, which I
wanted to integrate into the concerto, and the lyrical sound of his playing is
brought forth through the different materials.  When he plays pianissimo, he doesn’t make the sound low, but
changes its color.  I was very
surprised to find a pianist who could play so closely what I thought the music
should sound like.”

Following the performances with the BRSO, Munich’s Abendzeitung
wrote, “Pianist
Leif Ove Andsnes convincingly played with energy and lyrical sensitivity.  … The applause was just like after a
Tchaikovsky [concerto], with great cheers for the soloist.”

The project’s title work, The Shadows of Silence by the Danish composer Bent
Sorensen (b. 1958), was commissioned by Carnegie Hall for performance by Leif
Ove Andsnes in his prestigious 2004-05 “Perspectives” series.  A New York Times reviewer described the piece
vividly: “The Shadows of Silence is an engaging and unusually textured piece, filled with
hushed, trembling sonorities drawn from the extremes of pitch at both ends of
the keyboard … evocative of an arctic landscape, with glistening watery
surfaces stretching across vast spaces. 
Jagged chords slice through the calm, but there are also impressionistic
washes of color, infinite shades of white.  … The music grows ruminative and halting as it drifts into
the distance, blurring into silence. 
Mr. Andsnes played it with immense subtlety.”  Leif Ove Andsnes has said, “I play The Shadows of Silence a lot in recitals because I love it
so much.  … It is very difficult …
because [Sorensen] demands that you play the same notes many times, very fast
but very soft.  … There’s a kind of
dreamlike landscape to it, which I really love being in.  … There is one thing I have to do which
is quite unusual: I have to hum along at the end of the piece.  … When I played it in Carnegie Hall for
the first time, the artistic administrator … offered me a vocal recital the
next time … which I’m not sure I will accept!”

Andsnes considers Witold Lutoslawski’s Piano
Concerto, composed in 1987-88, perhaps the greatest piano concerto of the
second half of the 20th century.  In four connected movements, it combines twelve-tone
techniques and tonal and polytonal harmonies with hints of Chopin, Ravel, Bach,
and Eastern European folk music. 
“With its large, sweeping gestures and dramatic interplay between the
soloist and the orchestra, the piano concerto pays homage to this most popular
of concert music genres.  Yet even
while writing a public piece hardly less accessible than the concertos of
Prokofiev, Lutoslawski finds ingenious ways to make the music fresh, original,
and intellectually challenging” (New York Times review of a performance by Leif Ove
Andsnes with the New York Philharmonic). 
The Times
went on to describe Andsnes’s playing as “commanding, elegant, incisive, rich
with wondrous colors, and full of imagination.”

György Kurtág began his Játékok series (Játékok means “games” in Hungarian) in
1973.  When he had completed his
Opus 7 in 1968, Kurtág had a case of “writer’s block” and decided to tackle it
by setting himself the task of analyzing works by other composers such as
Beethoven, Bartók, Schubert, and Debussy.  One result was his ongoing series Játékok, short works for piano solo or
piano four-hands, in which Kurtág comments on these other composers’ works and
on questions that he feels they left behind.  The Játékok are witty, understated, informal works in which the
composer plays with ideas and familiar sounds in unfamiliar ways.  Andsnes has often included the works on
his recital programs and has chosen eight of them for this recording.

Leif Ove Andsnes is an exclusive EMI Classics artist
and has won four prestigious Gramophone Awards.  He is currently preparing an exciting new multimedia project
entitled Pictures Reframed, a collaboration with South African visual artist Robin
Rhode, inspired by Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition.  The Pictures Reframed project will be unveiled in November 2009 at New
York’s Alice Tully Hall and will subsequently tour the major European cities
before continuing to Beijing and Abu Dhabi in 2010.  The development and realization of the project will be
captured on a film made by Norwegian television (commissioning sponsor
StatoilHydro) and issued as a CD and DVD by EMI Classics.  For additional information, visit

Tragédiennes, Vol. II – From Gluck to Berlioz

Véronique Gens, soprano

Les Talens Lyriques / Christophe

available July 14 from Virgin Classics

“Gens’s great gift is in differentiating
between the various tragic heroines and bringing total dramatic commitment to

– Gramophone

Following her critically-lauded album Tragédiennes (winner of Gramophone
and Echo Klassik awards), French soprano Véronique Gens has recorded a sequel,
continuing the first album’s timeline and taking the repertoire up into the 19th

Like the first installment, the new album
focuses on tragic heroines, with Gens using her liquid-toned soprano to cut to
the emotional core of each character. 
Beginning in the Baroque era with Rameau and ending in the Romantic with
Berlioz, the recital also includes important transitional composers such as
Gluck and Cherubini, as well as lesser-known figures such as Niccolò Piccinni, Antonio Sacchini, and Juan
Crisóstomo de Arriaga, the “Spanish Mozart,” who died
when he was just 19.

Track List:

1. Gluck:
“Grands dieux soutenez mon courage… 
Ah!  Divinités implacables”
from Alceste

2. Sacchini:
“Il me fuit…  Rien ne peut
émouvoir” from Dardanus

3. Sacchini:
“Cesse cruel amour de régner sur mon âme” from Dardanus

4. Piccinni:
“Non, ce n’est plus pour moi” from Didon

5. Gluck:
“Ballet des ombres heureuses” from Orphée et Eurydice

6. Gluck: “Air
de Furies” from Orphée et Eurydice

7. Sacchini:
“Dieux, ce n’est pas pour moi que ma voix vous implore” from Oedipe à Colone

8. Grétry:
“C’est le seul espoir qui me reste… 
Si fidèle au noeud qui l’engage” from


9. Rameau:
“Entrée très gaye de Troubadours” from Les Paladins

10. Rameau:
“Triste séjour” from Les Paladins

11. Rameau:
Sarabande from Les Paladins

12. Sacchini:
“Hélas vous le dirais-je…  Ah!  Que dis-tu?” from Renaud

13. Rameau:
Menuets I and II from Les Paladins

14. Cherubini:
“Ah!  Nos peines seront communes”
from Médée

15. Arriaga:
“Il n’est plus…  Dieux cruels!”
from Herminie

16. Berlioz:
“Les Grecs ont disparu…  Malheureux
Roi” from Les Troyens

Mahler: Four Movements

Radio Symphony Orchestra / Paavo Järvi

and downloads available July 14 from Virgin Classics

In addition to his nine completed
symphonies and Das Lied von der Erde, Gustav Mahler wrote three freestanding
symphonic movements: 1) Blumine (“Flower Piece”), originally the second movement
of an orchestral work that became the Symphony No 1; 2) Totenfeier (“Funeral rites”), the
original first movement of the Symphony No 2, described by the composer as the
burial of the (probably autobiographical) hero of the preceding symphony; and
3) the Adagio planned as the first movement of his Symphony No 10.

Paavo Järvi, leading the Frankfurt Radio
Symphony Orchestra, has combined these three movements into one single
fascinating program, filling it out with Benjamin Britten’s 1941 arrangement of
“What The Wild Flowers Tell Me,” the second movement of Mahler’s Symphony No 3.

Special boxed sets, reissues,
and compilations

100 20th Century Classics


and downloads available July 28 from EMI Classics

new installment in EMI Classics’ popular “Best 100” series is an adventurous
survey of the greatest music of the 20th century.

specially-priced six-CD set covers many of the most popular works composed
between 1900 and 1999, as well as representative pieces by composers who
broadened the concept of classical music during that period and those who pushed
its boundaries to the limits.

CDs are arranged in the following themes:

1: The Last of the Romantics

Rachmaninov, Holst, Vaughan Williams, Rodrigo, and more.

2: Innovators

Stravinsky, Webern, Berg, Schoenberg, Bartok, Britten, and more.

3: Brave New World

Messiaen, Tavener, Adès, Lutoslawski, Gubaidulina, and more.

4: America

Barber, Gershwin, Copland, Ives, Cage, Reich, Carter, Adams, and more.

5: Instrumental and Chamber

Scriabin, Kreisler, Pärt, Schnittke, Ravel, and more.

6: Choral and Vocal

Orff, Boulez, Rutter, McCartney, Puccini, Lloyd Webber, and more.

There are currently more than 20 releases
in the “Best 100” series, each containing a generous and compellingly programmed
sampling of music from the renowned vaults of EMI Classics and Virgin Classics.
 One of the best consumer values on
the classical recordings market – each set is amazingly priced at six CDs for
the price of one – the “Best 100” series has thus far sold more than two
million sets worldwide.

EMI Classics and Virgin Classics artists at NY’s Mostly Mozart

Among the EMI Classics and Virgin Classics artists on
tour of US summer festivals this season are three pianists who will be
performing at New York’s enormously popular and increasingly adventurous Mostly
Mozart Festival (July 28 – August 22).

Leif Ove Andsnes starts it all off, giving
festival-opening performances on July 28 and 29 of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto
No. 3, with Louis Langrée conducting the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra.  Andsnes will play this same concerto a
few days later with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Thomas
Dausgaard at the Tanglewood Festival in Lennox, MA (Aug 2).  His previous appearance at the Mostly
Mozart Festival was in 2003, when he gave a “blissfully beautiful” (New York
) performance
of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 18 with the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra.  Andsnes’s recording of that concerto
with the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra for EMI Classics was named one of the New
York Times
’s best
CDs of 2004. 

Polish-Hungarian pianist Piotr Anderszewski will be
featured in four Mostly Mozart events. 
The first is an intimate all-Bach recital in the festival’s “Little
Night Music” series in the Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse (July 29).  Next, he joins conductor Edward Gardner
and the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra for two performances of Mozart’s Piano
Concerto No. 18 (July 31 and Aug 1). 
A second event on August 1, this time at the Walter Reade Theater, will
feature Anderszewski as the subject of a film receiving its US premiere: Unquiet
legendary director Bruno Monsaingeon, provides a fascinating glimpse into the
pianist’s artistic identity and musical passions.  Monsaingeon also directed the award-winning film of
Anderszewski performing and discussing Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations (released by Virgin
Classics on DVD in June 2004). 
Anderszewski’s latest recording, featuring a concert recorded live at
Carnegie Hall, was released last month and is an “Editor’s Choice” selection in
the August issue of Gramophone.

American pianist Nicholas Angelich makes his Mostly
Mozart Festival debut this summer with performances of Mozart’s Piano Concerto
No. 20 with the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra under the direction of
fast-rising conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin (Aug 4 and 5).  Soon after, he gives a recital at the
Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse featuring a program of two works by
Mozart (Fantasia in C minor, K.475 and Sonata in C major, K.330) and Brahms’s Variations
on a Theme by Paganini
, Book 1 (Aug 7).  Angelich has recorded Brahms’s music extensively for Virgin
Classics, including the Piano Concerto No. 1, chamber music with the Capuçon
brothers, and solo repertoire – including the Paganini Variations.  In 2006, Gramophone named Angelich
one of “Tomorrow’s Classical Superstars.”

Critical acclaim for recent EMI Classics and
Virgin Classics releases

Kate Royal – Midsummer Night

Kate Royal, soprano

National Opera Orchestra / Edward Gardner

Crouch End Festival Chorus / David
Temple, chorus master; Thomas Allen, baritone (“Embroidery Aria”); Andrew
Staples, tenor (“Nightingale Aria”)

Released June 2009 on
EMI Classics

“With recital
discs, a singer can go in either of two directions: one path sticks to familiar
territory, the other veers toward pastures new.  Congratulations to Kate Royal for adopting the adventurous
route in her second CD.  True, this
lustrous young British soprano alights upon Vilja from Lehár’s Merry
, but have you ever heard that operetta jewel next to a morsel from Peter
?…  Royal’s voice is the
best instrument of all: a voice of strong, liquid beauty, unfaltering in any
register, never more thrilling than when pealing or gliding in long breaths.”


Adès: The Tempest

Kate Royal, Ian Bostridge, Simon Keenlyside, Toby
Spence, Philip Langridge, etc.

Orchestra & Chorus of the Royal Opera House,
Covent Garden / Thomas Adès

June 2009 on EMI Classics

alluring Adès score and a first-rate cast make this Tempest unmissable… . After a number of
decent attempts in recent years, the Royal Opera House finally hit gold with a
new opera – one that will surely stand the test of time, that deepens with
every hearing, and which gets a worthy first recording here.  The performances, which derive from the
(somewhat) revised 2007 revival, are in all ways stronger than the premiere.  The casting assembles some of the finest
performers around today… . Ades’s own conducting drives inexorably the
groundswell of lyricism that motivates this piece and unifies all the vocal

Gramophone CD of the Month, August 2009

EMI Classics
and Virgin Classics artists on tour – Summer 2009

8 – August 29

Dessay continues run as Violetta (role debut) in Santa Fe Opera’s La traviata

17, 18

Trpceski at Aspen Music Festival, Aspen, CO

July 23, 25

Leif Ove
Andsnes at Festival del Sole, Napa Valley, CA


Biss plays Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21 at Caramoor Center, Katonah NY

28, 29

Ove Andsnes opens Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center in NYC

July 29, 31, August 1

Piotr Anderszewski at Mostly Mozart Festival at
Lincoln Center in NYC

August 2

Leif Ove Andsnes at Tanglewood Music Festival,
Lennox, MA

August 4, 5, 7

Nicholas Angelich at Mostly Mozart Festival at
Lincoln Center in NYC

August 6

Jonathan Biss at Ravinia Festival, Highland Park, IL

August 15

David Fray with Cleveland Orchestra at Blossom Music
Festival, OH


David Fray with Boston Symphony at Tanglewood Music
Festival, MA

For further information contact:

Glenn Petry, 21C Media Group:        (212)
625-2038,  [email protected]

Mariko Tada, EMI Classics:               (212)
786-8964,  [email protected]

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© 21C Media Group,July 2009

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